Release Date: August 14th, 2020
Biffy Clyro thrives on change. 25 years into their career they refuse to settle and get comfortable. Rather, they jump at the chance to try something new, expectations be damned. Always looking forward, they aren’t afraid to experiment with their sound and take it to new places that keeps their music fresh and exciting. Their new album, A Celebration of Endings, is the next step of their evolution. It not only showcases another side of Biffy, it’s a celebration of change.
Change is at the core of Biffy Clyro. 2016’s Ellipsis and 2019’s Balance, Not Symmetry soundtrack saw them tread new ground. It gave them the confidence they needed to keep pushing their sound in new directions. On their ninth album, they go for an expansive sound combining their noisy rock with orchestral strings, synths, and keyboards. Everything is distinctly Biffy; the album still has their trademark wall of noise, big hooks, and high energy, yet they take it to new heights.
“Instant History” is an unexpected dance banger replacing brash riffs with catchy synths, while “The Pink Limit” and “Weird Leisure” have a larger than life quality made to echo throughout stadiums. “Cop Syrup” harkens back to Biffy’s early days with brash, jangly guitars, and frontman Simon Neil shrieking at the top of his lungs. It’s the album’s wildest moment that takes an unexpected turn with its interlude of swelling strings adding an unsettling calmness to the raging track. The changes the band made to their sound here aren’t especially jarring – don’t worry they aren’t doing trapt beats. Rather, they play with their sound just enough to keep it vibrant and exciting.
This celebration of change goes beyond their sound as the record explores change on a personal and political scale. Whether it’s letting go of a lifelong friend or standing your ground, the record is about realizing when change needs to happen and learning how to accept it no matter how difficult it is. On the furious “End Of” Neil rages about having the courage to tell certain people in your life to fuck off and the quiet “Opaque” is the realization that even the people closest to you can betray you. Though he gets personal on a few songs, Neil spends the bulk of the album championing the need for change on a wider scale.
Written pre-pandemic, Neil comes off as clairvoyant with his talk of “fighting ugly wars,” using your voice to make a difference, and finding peace. Lines like “looking for a new revolution/this one didn’t get very far” on “Tiny Indoor Fireworks” and “The Champ’s” hook of “we are The Source/of the things you’re trying to ignore” are eerily poignant of 2020’s many struggles. Even the sentimental “Space” sounds like it was written post-pandemic as Neil pleads “will you wait for me?/there’s always a space in my heart” highlights the longing for love and touch that COVID has taken from us. And in case you didn’t get the message, Neil lays it out bare on “Worst Type of Best Possible:” “times are changing, my love.”
Still, the record remains hopeful and positive. It has an optimistic outlook for what’s to come. Times may be tough now, but this too shall pass. Neil reminds us to “pray for the better days” even during life’s bad moments. And this is a message that’s all too easy to forget now. Every day feels like a new fire waiting to be put out. When you constantly wake up to bad news, it’s hard to think things will ever get better. But even now, we have to find the positive and keep pushing for change because as Biffy Clyro reminds us, change is coming, and things are only going to get better.